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Matthews extends career-best goal streak as Leafs heap added misery on flailing Canucks – CBC.ca

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Auston Matthews has never had a run like this in the NHL.

And in the process, the Maple Leafs star helped heap more misery on a flailing opponent once again left searching for answers.

Matthews scored twice — including a stunning finish that materialized out of almost nothing — to extend his goal streak to a career-best seven consecutive games Saturday as Toronto thumped the Vancouver Canucks 5-1.

“I try to have the same mindset whether the puck’s going in or not,” said the 23-year-old centre, who also buried a pair in Thursday’s 7-3 victory over Vancouver, and is always more eager to talk about a teammate’s success than his own.

WATCH | Matthews strikes twice against Canucks:

Auston Matthews potted his ninth and tenth goals of the season in Toronto’s 5-1 win over Vancouver. 0:56

With the Leafs already up 1-0 in the first period, Matthews stepped past Canucks defenceman Jalen Chatfield in the blink of an eye before roofing the puck shortside on Braden Holty to extend his streak.

“That goal … it happens so fast that I don’t think anybody on the ice was really ready for it,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Just how quickly he went from going around the defender to putting it in the net … it was impressive.

“I think in both these games we’ve played here, he could have had four or five. He was really feeling it.”

Simmonds, Hyman supplement offence

Wayne Simmonds, with two of his own, and Zach Hyman, with a goal and an assist, provided the rest of the offence for Toronto (9-2-1). Frederik Andersen, who was just over two minutes away from registering his first shutout of the season, finished with 27 saves.

Mitch Marner added three assists to extend his point streak to seven games, while Mikko Lehtonen chipped in with two more for his first two-point night in the NHL.

Toronto is now 7-0-1 over its last eight and sits atop the North Division with 19 points, one better than the Montreal Canadiens.

“We’re controlling the puck well,” Marner said. “When that’s happening, it’s a good sign from us.”

It’s also been a very bad sign for Vancouver (6-9-0), which got a late goal from Brock Boeser in losing a fourth straight game in regulation this week.

“We need to expect a little more out of ourselves,” said Holtby, who made 26 stops. “As a group we need to be a whole lot better.”

WATCH | Week 3 roundup of the NHL’s North Division:

In our new weekly segment, Rob Pizzo catches you up on the week that was in the all-Canadian division in the NHL. 3:11

Playing their league-leading 15th contest, the Canucks have now surrendered an NHL-worst 60 goals in 2020-21, and have given up at least five against nine times.

“Everything looks difficult for our team,” Vancouver head coach Travis Green said. “Simple plays look hard right now.

“It’s not coming easy, and maybe that’s a little bit of a mental thing.”

The teams play seven more times in the NHL’s abbreviated season, including Monday back inside a fan-less Scotiabank Arena because of COVID-19 protocols to wrap up this three-game set.

Looking for a spark, Green reunited the “Lotto Line” of Boeser (No. 6), Elias Pettersson (No. 40) and J.T. Miller (No. 9), while Vancouver winger Loui Eriksson — in the fifth season of albatross $36-million US, six-year contract — made his 2020-21 debut alongside Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Rob Pizzo highlights NHL’s Black trailblazers:

Willie O’Ree broke the league’s colour barrier in 1958, and there have been a lot of firsts since then. Rob Pizzo walks you through 9 trailblazers for Black History Month. 1:52

The Canucks, who qualified for the second round of the 2019-20 pandemic-delayed playoffs before undergoing a number off-season changes as key veterans left in free agency, were once again far from good enough versus the high-flying Leafs.

Toronto opened the scoring at 4:42 of the first when its lethal power play, which has now scored in 11 of its 12 outings, went to work. Simmonds took a pass from Marner at the side of the net and, with the cross-ice option to Matthews taken away by a defender, instead roofed his fourth of the season in off the bar.

“I’ve seen that goal a couple times,” Marner said of the veteran winger’s finish. “It’s impressive to see it with my own eyes tonight, though.”

Simmonds then hit two posts on the same shift as Vancouver, which didn’t register a shot attempt until Justin Bailey forced a save out of Andersen almost nine minutes in, struggled to keep up.

Boeser spoils Andersen’s shutout

Pettersson, who would find iron at the end of a power play late in the period, had a chance on a partial break Andersen turned aside before Matthews went to work with his ninth to extend that torrid goal run.

“He’s been playing great,” Marner said of his red-hot linemate. “When you give him time and space, it’s usually a goal.”

The Leafs made it 3-0 at 7:36 of the second when Marner wove into the Vancouver zone and found Lehtonen, who in turn fed a great pass for Hyman to tap in his third.

The Canucks showed some life later in the period, with Andersen making a good save on Nils Hoglander. Miller then blasted a one-timer that beat the Leafs netminder, but Toronto correctly challenged for offside.

Matthews, who played second fiddle to Jason Spezza on Thursday with the veteran registering his first hat trick in nearly five years, put his team up by four with his 10th at 1:28 of the third when he outraced Miller to Holtby’s clearing attempt before firing five-hole.

“Just how powerful he can be an how crafty he is, it’s fun to watch,” Andersen said. “It’s nice to see him be as dominant as he is.”

Simmonds, who left the game after taking a shot off his hand later in the period, added to Vancouver’s pain 1:48 later when he tipped home his fifth off point shot from Lehtonen, who was inserted into the lineup with Travis Dermott (leg) out injured.

Boeser spoiled Andersen’s shutout bid when he scored his sixth on a deflection with 2:04 left in regulation on a Canucks’ man advantage.

But that could do little to sour the Leafs’ mood following another dominant performance.

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Quick Reaction: Rockets 111, Raptors 122 – Raptors Republic

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HOU Rockets 111 Final
Box Score
122 TOR Raptors

C. Boucher27 MIN, 7 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-8 FG, 0-4 3FG, 3-4 FT, 3 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-Monsieur Boucher was technically the largest gentleman on the court for the 27 minutes he played tonight, but you only felt that presence on one side of the floor. On D, he did his thang blocking shots, making the lives of Houston guards’ maneuvering in the paint miserable, and holding his own on switches. On O, he didn’t really seem to exist. It was only the fifth time this season that Boucher didn’t hit a three, which is fine, but it never felt like his height threatened Houston. Though, he did grab three offensive boards and wisely advised Coach Scariolo to review his foul on Oladipo.

K. Lowry33 MIN, 20 PTS, 11 REB, 10 AST, 1 STL, 6-9 FG, 4-5 3FG, 4-4 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 22 +/-This box is truly not large enough for all of the great things I want, nay, NEED, to say about Lowry’s performance tonight. The Raps were really out of sorts in the first quarter shooting 9/26 with little flow. Then came Captain/Coach/Meta-Brain/Pest Kyle Lowry who took complete control of the second quarter. In the first six minutes, he scored or assisted on at least 18 of their 21 points. Even when alone with the bench, Kyle kept them rolling. He never relinquished control of the game after that. He did all the Kyle-stuff too. He had a charge, a couple of deflections, and took some time to battle WWE SuperStar, David Nwaba, in several micro-altercations. Come the fourth quarter, when Houston finally woke from their two-quarter nap, Kyle kept Toronto calm and collected orchestrating their D and getting the ball in the hands of the right people heaving outlets, zipping skip-passes, and making the extra pass. It was a C-L-A-S-S-I-C Lowry game.

N. Powell32 MIN, 30 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 10-15 FG, 4-8 3FG, 6-6 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 15 +/-Powell continues to score like a cool cat sauntering down the fence of an alleyway. His game has such a sweet cadence. Even his dunks can be jazzy smooth. He had an incredibly efficient night, getting to the rim in stride, making the right decisions instead of forcing things, and blazing from three. It was also another night where he avoided making any of those silly “What-was-that-Norm!?” plays. He was the scoring lift the Raptors needed with Pascal Siakam on the sidelines.

F. VanVleet38 MIN, 25 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 6-23 FG, 5-11 3FG, 8-8 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 4 +/-Freddy had a tough one. Yes, he was a major part of the Raptors’ victory. But for large stretches of the game he seemed frustrated and bothered by all those long Rockets’ arms. More than once he got to the paint and lost the ball or got stuffed or did something desperate. Desperate is so unattractive. If it weren’t for getting to the line 8 times, that would have been a very ugly one for FVV. That said, he brought it on the defensive end. And, for that, I love him forever and for always. Oladipo and Wall are tough tasks; they both ended with a meh 9/21.

OG. Anunoby27 MIN, 11 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 5-8 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 12 +/-I was very disappointed with OG tonight. Not for how he played, because he played as OG always plays: strong, tempered, and selective. You can’t fault a guy for that. But this was a chance for him to really fill in for Pascal. FVV and Kyle were going to be busy with the Rockets guards; OG had free rein to go to work. He scored two buckets early and it looked like, “Okay, here we go. OG time.”, but then he picked up two personal fouls early and lost his mojo. But, again, I can’t be mad. He, like Freddy, is so vital to the Raptors defensive scheme that in any bad offensive night he makes it up in spades on defence.

D. Bembry23 MIN, 13 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 4-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -3 +/-Bembry is like that plant you have out back and every time you go and check on it, you’re like “Woah! Did that grow.” His game is flourishing alongside the Raptor core. He moves so well off the ball and is a great complement to how Kyle and Fred like to play the game on both ends of the court.

Y. Watanabe17 MIN, 4 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-6 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-I genuinely am shocked to see that Yuta was on the court for 17 minutes tonight. He had one wicked Euro step for a lay-up, but other than that, I am having trouble recalling Yuta minutes. Sorry, Yuta.

T. Davis16 MIN, 3 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 1-5 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-TD had an absolutely monstrous block! Nothing too distinguishable for Terrence otherwise. It was another night where I felt like he could have done so much more, but just didn’t.

A. Baynes15 MIN, 9 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 4-8 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 5 +/-Baynes always seems to get the award for ugliest looking play of the game. He blew a layup early, and then had this weird personal vendetta against PJ Tucker where he tried to take him one-on-one at the top of the key and then ballet-shot-putted the ball towards the hoop. Needless to say, it did not end well. Baynes played fine considering, but I was always left disappointed that he wasn’t smashing Rockets more down low.

P. McCaw4 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-I do love Pat’s willingness to move the ball around. Perhaps, he does it a bit too much, but in one play he passed up a shot, drove, and kicked to a wide open OG who missed the three, Pat got the offensive rebound and immediately whipped it back cross court to Norm who drove in for the dunk. I want Pat to succeed and stay on the floor for longer because I think he has a really unique style of play.

S. Johnson2 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-Can’t give too strong a letter grade on two minutes of play, but he did have two nice defensive stands at the top of the zone. I have admitted before that I have been on Stanley Johnson Island for a long time now. And there is where I will stay.

P. Siakam0 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-Late scratch due to COVID health and safety protocols.

Nick Nurse No Nick tonight. He and five other coaching staff were held out of the game due to COVID health and safety protocols. I mean how can I criticize a guy who had, what, an hour to prepare for his first head coaching gig? Sergio Scariolo, fresh out of quarantine himself, stepped up in Nurse’s stead and, rightfully, earned his first win as an NBA head coach (even though, technically, I think it goes to Nick). The Raptors started off a little shaky, and that’s forgivable considering the circumstances, but by halftime, the game was well-in-hand. Sergio platooned FVV with the bench and did the same with Kyle. It had mixed results, but I always love when a coach puts his faith in his bench and sends them out there wholesale. Why not? Especially, in the middle of February facing a weaker team like Houston. The Raps bent a bit in the fourth, but they did not break, and that’s all that matters. Oh, and he nailed his first coach’s challenge ever! Yay, Sergio.

THINGS WE SAW

  1. That game just felt flat. Houston looked like a student in a microeconomics lecture who sleeps through the whole thing until they hear “this will be on the exam” and perks up for the next ten minutes. When Houston did perk up, Toronto had trouble keeping Wall and Oladipo out of the paint. They didn’t finish a lot of their takes, but it was concerning to see the ease in which they were getting to the hole.
  2. I am worried about the Raptors’ depth. DeAndre’ is winning me over, but that old adage of “who are your seven guys come playoff time” leaves me wondering if he makes the cut. TD certainly doesn’t. Nor Yuta. I don’t know what to think of Baynes these days. I am not saying find me the panic button or anything of that magnitude. All I am saying, is the Raptors lean a lot on FVV, Siakam, Lowry, and, so far, Normy. If one of those guys sputters – or is out like Siakam was tonight- there aren’t a lot of options left. Food for thought.

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Homan tops Carey to open Scotties championship round – Sportsnet.ca

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CALGARY — The favourites set the tone in championship pool play Friday at the Canadian women’s curling championship.

With a few surprise teams making the eight-team cut, perennial contenders Rachel Homan, Kerri Einarson and Jennifer Jones posted afternoon victories and showed why they’re good bets to reach the playoffs.

“With only three teams advancing, you can’t have very many losses to advance,” Jones said. “So we know that and we know we’re going to have to play every game as though we have to get that W and hopefully we perform well.”

Homan’s Ontario team stole a point in the 10th end for a 7-6 victory over Chelsea Carey’s Team Wild Card One and then came back for an 8-7 win over Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges in an extra end.

That left Homan in top spot at 9-1 with Einarson, the defending champion, who topped Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson 10-6 before eliminating Carey from playoff contention with a 9-3 rout.

Jones’s Manitoba team earned a split on the day to sit in a tie for third place at 7-3 with Alberta’s Laura Walker. Jones posted a 12-8 win over Beth Peterson of Team Wild Card Three before dropping a 7-5 decision to Walker.

“I guess mandatory is a good word for it,” Walker said of the win. “We needed it and I’m proud of the way we went out there and got it.”

With Anderson sitting out the nightcap with an injury, alternate Amber Holland threw fourth stones for Saskatchewan. She dropped a 10-9 decision to Peterson in an extra end that left both teams tied with Quebec at 6-4.

Earlier, Walker edged St-Georges 7-6 in an extra end. Saskatchewan and Quebec had an unexpected share of the Pool B lead after the preliminary round.

Carey (5-5), who’s filling in at skip for Tracy Fleury this week, barely missed a runback double-takeout attempt with her final shot against Homan, who put the pressure on with two protected stones near the button.

“They hung in there with me and we made some good ones in the end,” Homan said of teammates Emma Miskew, Sarah Wilkes and Joanne Courtney.

Jones, who’s aiming for a record seventh Scotties Tournament of Hearts title, stole five points in the 10th for her afternoon victory. Einarson was also tested early in that draw before a late deuce sealed the win.

Two more draws were set for Saturday at the Markin MacPhail Centre. The top three teams in the eight-team pool will reach the playoffs on Sunday.

The second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal for a berth in the evening final against the first-place team.

The Hearts winner will return as Team Canada at the 2022 national playdowns in Thunder Bay, Ont. The champion will also earn a berth in the Olympic Trials in November at Saskatoon.

The men’s national championship — the Tim Hortons Brier — starts March 5 at the same Canada Olympic Park venue. The Hearts is the first of six bonspiels to be held at the arena through late April.

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Homan, Einarson improve to 8-1 at Canadian women's curling championship – CBC.ca

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The favourites set the tone in championship pool play Friday at the Canadian women’s curling championship.

With a few surprise teams making the eight-team cut, perennial contenders Rachel Homan, Jennifer Jones and Kerri Einarson posted afternoon victories and showed why they’re good bets to reach the playoffs.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

“With only three teams advancing, you can’t have very many losses to advance,” Jones said. “So we know that and we know we’re going to have to play every game as though we have to get that W and hopefully we perform well.”

Homan’s Ontario team stole a point in the 10th end for a 7-6 victory over Chelsea Carey’s Team Wild Card One and then came back for an 8-7 win over Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges in an extra end.

That left Homan in top spot at 9-1 with Einarson, the defending champion, who topped Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson 10-6 before eliminating Carey from playoff contention with a 9-3 rout.

THAT CURLING SHOW | Previewing weekend play at the Scotties:

The drama is ramping up at the Scotties and Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones have all your predictions and scenarios. 49:50

Jones’s Manitoba team earned a split on the day to sit in a tie for third place at 7-3 with Alberta’s Laura Walker. Jones posted a 12-8 win over Beth Peterson of Team Wild Card Three before dropping a 7-5 decision to Walker.

“I guess mandatory is a good word for it,” Walker said of the win. “We needed it and I’m proud of the way we went out there and got it.”

With Anderson sitting out the nightcap with an injury, alternate Amber Holland threw fourth stones for Saskatchewan. She dropped a 10-9 decision to Peterson in an extra end that left both teams tied with Quebec at 6-4.

Earlier, Walker edged St-Georges 7-6 in an extra end. Saskatchewan and Quebec had an unexpected share of the Pool B lead after the preliminary round.

THAT CURLING SHOW | Laura Walker defeats Jennifer Jones:

Laura Walker beats Jennifer Jones 7-5, Alberta and Manitoba are now tied with 7-3 records. 0:51

Carey (5-5), who’s filling in at skip for Tracy Fleury this week, barely missed a runback double-takeout attempt with her final shot against Homan, who put the pressure on with two protected stones near the button.

“They hung in there with me and we made some good ones in the end,” Homan said of teammates Emma Miskew, Sarah Wilkes and Joanne Courtney.

Jones, who’s aiming for a record seventh Scotties Tournament of Hearts title, stole five points in the 10th for her afternoon victory. Einarson was also tested early in that draw before a late deuce sealed the win.

Two more draws were set for Saturday at the Markin MacPhail Centre. The top three teams in the eight-team pool will reach the playoffs on Sunday.

The second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal for a berth in the evening final against the first-place team.

The Hearts winner will return as Team Canada at the 2022 national playdowns in Thunder Bay, Ont. The champion will also earn a berth in the Olympic Trials in November at Saskatoon.

The men’s national championship — the Tim Hortons Brier — starts March 5 at the same Canada Olympic Park venue. The Hearts is the first of six bonspiels to be held at the arena through late April.

THAT CURLING SHOW | Ben Herbert logs Scotties championship predictions:

The Olympic gold medallist breaks down the competition heading into the weekend in the Calgary bubble. 3:26

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